Asbestos treatment at Kapa‘a, Lihu‘e fire stations

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The Kaua‘i Fire Department’s Lihu‘e fire station

LIHU‘E — Portions of the floors of the Kapa‘a fire station were being held together by duct tape, Kaua‘i Fire Department Chief Steven Goble reported to the Fire Commission Monday afternoon.

When assessed for a scheduled remodel, the problems were deeper than just repairs to replace the flooring.

Upon inspection, a contractor suspected asbestos glue and infected tiles within KFD’s station two. Testing confirmed the presence of asbestos, a cancer-causing agent that was previously commonly used as insulation.

And this wasn’t the only fire station in need of repairs.

The Kapa‘a station was built around 1967 and, seven years later, the Lihu‘e fire station was built.

“After this discovery (in Kapa‘a), the Lihue fire station (station three) was also tested and confirmed to have asbestos floor tiles and mastic,” Goble said in a written statement.

The abatement and flooring replacement in Kapa‘a should be completed this week. It started about three weeks ago.

Repairs in Lihu‘e should be finished by the middle of next week. The flooring replacement is in a procurement process, Goble continued, and a timeline for completion is not available.

Repairs at the Kapa‘a station will run $32,534. The repairs in Lihu‘e will cost $89,797.

Funding for the remodel was allocated, but not all of it, Goble said in a written statement.

“We have had to re-prioritize other fire-department projects to fund the unanticipated costs associated with the abatement in Kapa‘a and the entire project in Lihu‘e,” he wrote.

The county currently has budgeted $200,000 for fire-station improvements, according to the county’s capital improvements budget.

In 2017, the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall was closed for six months for asbestos-laced floor-tile removal and replacement for about $181,000.

While repairs are made, KFD personnel have relocated to the Waipouli Beach Resort and Banyan Harbor in Lihu‘e.

The Kapa‘a crew was initially housed at Kaua‘i Shores before being relocated, Goble said.

When asked if there were plans for the other fire stations to be inspected, Goble said there aren’t.

“At this time, we do not have reason to believe there are asbestos tiles in other fire stations,” he said.

At Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Michael Martinez thanked Goble for the briefing, adding that it was surprising to hear about deterioration. “Not knowing it (the facilities) were in this much disrepair was an eye-opener,” Martinez said.

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Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

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